International students in Canada: New Provisions in 2024

International students in Canada: anxieties rise as Canada prepares to reinstate working hour limits

International Students in Canada

Concerns over International students in Canada, as debt and living costs escalate as Canada moves towards reinstating a cap on the number of hours international students can work off-campus.

The temporary removal of the cap, implemented to address labor shortages, is nearing its end, with a return to the 20-hour weekly limit for international students looming on December 31, 2023. This impending change has sparked widespread apprehension among students who rely on full-time work to finance their education and living expenses.

Many now face a stark reality of navigating hefty tuition fees and rising living costs with a significantly reduced income. Students express anxieties regarding their ability to cover essential expenses like housing and groceries, with some anticipating a need for greater financial dependence on their families. Others anticipate needing to find ways to significantly reduce their costs, potentially impacting their living standards and even their academic progress.

The imminent return to limited working hours exposes a complex and often precarious financial reality for international students in Canada. While officials maintain that the 20-hour cap allows for supplementary income while encouraging academic focus, the lived experience of many students reveals a potential for greater financial hardship and a greater risk of resorting to under-the-table employment to meet their needs.

As Canada reinstates the working hour restrictions, the economic well-being of international students hangs in the balance, prompting calls for policies that address their unique financial challenges and create a more supportive environment for their academic and professional aspirations. International students face financial uncertainty as full-time work pilot project ends.

The impending expiration of the temporary measure allowing international students to work full-time has raised concerns among students grappling with rising tuition fees and living expenses. With the pilot project concluding on December 31, 2023, international students will once again be restricted to working only 20 hours per week, a significant reduction from the
current arrangement.

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International Students in Canada

The impending expiration of the temporary measure allowing international students to work full-time has raised concerns among students grappling with rising tuition fees and living expenses. With the pilot project concluding on December 31, 2023, international students will once again be restricted to working only 20 hours per week, a significant reduction from the current arrangement.

International students’ reliance on full-time employment to support their financial obligations has been highlighted through their expressions of disappointment regarding the upcoming reduction in working hours. One student recounted the positive impact of the temporary policy, enabling them to gain valuable professional experience in their field of study while simultaneously contributing to the construction industry. The student expressed apprehension about the precarious financial situation they face without the ability to work full-time, jeopardizing both their academic progress and their ability to contribute meaningfully to the Canadian economy.

The impact of limited working hours extends beyond individuals, affecting families as well. Some students anticipate seeking additional financial support from their families to mitigate the reduced income. Managing living expenses, including rent, is expected to become increasingly challenging, potentially leaving students unable to cover expenses beyond rent payments.

The financial strain on international students is further exacerbated by the substantial tuition fees they bear compared to their domestic counterparts. Statistics Canada data reveals that domestic undergraduate students pay an average annual tuition of $7,075, while international undergraduate students face an average tuition of $38,080. With some schools and programs charging upwards of $60,000, international students find themselves navigating a complex financial landscape.

In response to the impending changes, many students are exploring strategies to significantly reduce their expenses. These measures include seeking out cheaper groceries, considering less expensive housing options, and potentially reducing their course load. The issue of under-the-table employment has also surfaced, as some students may resort to undocumented work to exceed the 20-hour limit. While authorities advocate for the 20-hour cap to encourage students to focus on their studies, the reality suggests that financial pressures drive students to seek additional income beyond legal channels.

As the pilot project reaches its end, international students face a period of uncertainty regarding their financial well-being. The reduced working hours pose a significant challenge, and many students, along with their families, will need to adapt to the changing circumstances.

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